When you are preparing to meet with a graphic designer to discuss your new website design, there are several key items to get ready so your first meeting is productive. You should attempt to provide as much information to them as possible so they clearly understand your strategic goals and layout desires.

The items listed below may vary depending upon your existing website, how comfortable you are in the planning of content, how much investigative time you are willing to to do, as well as the clarity of your vision for the new website. Regardless of the type of business you have, you should consider the following:

Prepare a list of 5 key objectives you would like to achieve with the new website design.

Your website should be a major asset to your business; so define clear, obtainable and actionable goals. Through analytics and monitoring, you can track activity on your website to see how it’s performing at any given moment. By defining key objectives you will be able to quantify the results of the website design when finished. Objectives such as defining specific conversion rates, pages visited, time spent on pages and how often a visitor returns to your site, are all statistics worth including in your objectives.

Bring a rough outline of the types of pages that you would like on your new website design.

Content is so important and having a general overview of the type of content that you would like on your website will be beneficial in planning. Drawing up a site map before your initial meeting, like the one shown above, will help get your thoughts on paper and show your graphic designer how the website pages relate to each other. Think about the top level section pages such as “About us”, “Services” “Products” and what content would be contained within them. A mini-outline or table of contents is crucial to plan around.

Bring examples of websites that utilize features you like.

Take a look at competitors’ websites and be sure to broaden your website discovery to other industries and bookmark or take note of those that contain features you admire. It could be the homepage design, drop down navigation, photo galleries, animation or any stylistic design element. Your graphic designers will greatly appreciate you for doing this as it will help in planning the design and development of your website. More importantly, though, you want to ensure that the features are aligned with your business objectives.

Bring samples from magazines, websites or other media that inspire you in some way.

Anything that inspires you on a visual level can prove to be a great resource for your graphic designer. It gets them on board regarding your visual style and what is appropriate for the website design project. Many times in our design process, we utilize imagery from varied sources to create a visual mood board. From the mood board, we extract textures and colors and utilize them to create a visual theme which we apply to the website design.

Bring examples of websites that you dislike.

Even though the website needs to be designed with the end-user in mind, as the owner or manager of the website you need to like it and feel good about sharing it. Show your graphic designer the types of design elements you don’t like on a website. It will provide good conversation and allow your designer to streamline the design process by eliminating styles and features that don’t cut it in your eyes.

Bring analytics or the login for your analytics account.

Analytics are the ”proof is in the pudding” for websites. If you’re not monitoring your analytics, your website could be wasting on the vine. By closely tracking your website’s analytics you will more thoroughly understand the value it is providing to your business and the behavior of your visitors, which can be a big help to the website redesign process. The analytics will reveal information about the website that you may not be aware of; such as the most- and least-visited pages, the most popular pages and entry points, or the website that is producing your top referral traffic. With analytics in hand, you’ll be able to discuss opportunities for improvement as well as build upon the parts of the website that are working best.

When working with your graphic designer to design your website, providing information to them will help the project in many ways. Bringing plenty of style examples and research to your initial meeting will help yield smarter design and inspire more strategic thinking. With these small steps you’ll take one giant leap toward positioning your new website design as a major asset to your business.

If you would like to discuss your website project or have any questions about the process, contact us here or give us a call at 908.219.4703.